Render Unto Caesar, Reverend Crazypants

Posted in: Politics, Schadenfreude, Today in Crazy

Evangelists can always be relied upon to go down and out with a bang. Indeed, it is a generally accepted rule that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Kent Hovind, wacky conspiracy theorist, “Creation Science” evangelist formerly known as “Dr Dino”, and owner of the now-defunct Dinosaur Adventure Land Theme Park, Science Center, and Museum (their slogan: “where dinosaurs and the Bible meet!”), has joined the august ranks of Jimmy Swaggert, Ted Haggard and Jim Bakker in titter-inducing disgrace.

The IRS had been pursuing Kent Hovind for nearly twenty years on his claims that he is employed by God, receives no income, has no expenses and owns no property. Hovind was finally found guilty of all 58 counts, including failure to pay $845,000 in employee-related taxes, and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, while his wife, Jo Hovind, was later sentenced to 1 year.

According to TaxProf Blog, the blog of Paul L. Caron, the Associate Dean and Charles Hartsock Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati:

The Eleventh Circuit yesterday affirmed the conviction and sentence of Mr. Hovind (for failing to collect and pay employment withholding taxes, obstructing tax laws, and structuring transactions to avoid financial reporting laws) and of his wife (for structuring transactions to avoid reporting laws).  United States v. Hovind, No. 07-10090 (11th Cir. Dec. 30, 2008).

For the curious, this is an explanatory extract from a fascinating article on the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry blog, which I highly recommend reading all of here:

“Essentially, Hovind converted the backyard of his home at 29 Cummings Road into a theme park, improvising an entrance off Palafox and refusing to file the proper zoning-permit requests with Escambia County. Hovind was charged on September 13, 2002, for failure to observe county zoning regulations, but through many legal maneuvers (multiple requests to have judges recuse themselves, switching lawyers and eventually requesting a public defender, and various stays requested, once for failing to appear), the case is approaching its two-year anniversary in the court system with no conclusion imminent. The charge is a second-degree misdemeanor resulting from refusing to pay a $50 permitting fee.

“This is not Hovind’s only scrape with the law (a visit to the Escambia County Clerk of the Courts Web site shows over a dozen court cases involving Hovind and his family). A month before the misdemeanor charge, Hovind was charged with felony assault, battery, and burglary with assault or battery. Charges were dropped in December 2002 when the victim, a member of Hovind’s congregation, withdrew the complaint. (A lengthy description of the incident and an e-mail tit-for-tat between Hovind and his accuser can be found at www.geocities.com/kenthovind.) 

All this over a $50 permit fee? Religion News Blog tells us:

“Members of Creation Science Evangelism said at the time that building permits violated their “deeply held” religious beliefs.”

“Thou shalt not have building permits”? That’s a new one on me. But then, Hovind once claimed he and his wife would renounce his US citizenship and Social Security numbers in an effort to dodge taxes, and was considered so nutty that he was originally turned in to the IRS by Pensacola Christian College’s Senior VP, Rebekah Horton, in the mid 1990′s. 

In Hovind’s own words:

“People occasionally ask me what I mean when I say (in my seminar part 5 of my creation seminar series) that income tax and Social Security are voluntary. I only intended to point out the connection between evolution and Communism. Everything Karl Marx (the father of Communism) proposed in his 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto (1848) was deliberately anti-God and anti-Bible. Since the graduated income tax (our current system in the US and Canada) was plank #2, the subject inevitably came up. The income tax system is one of the main ways to destroy a country and bring it under communism.”

You can read the rest of his screed here. It’s very long, but quite entertaining in its derangement. 

Even Hovind’s non-tax-related beliefs are anything but mainstream, and he and his theme park have come under attack, not merely from actual scientists, but also from other Creationists who are eager not to be associated with “Dr Dino” and his batty ramblings.

More on the “Dr” part of his title: Kent Hovind, like “Ron Polarik”, has a fake PhD. Pictured below is Hovind’s alma mater, Patriot Bible College of Colorado Springs, CO, later Patriot University in Del Norte, CO. Hovind was awarded a master’s degree and doctorate in Christian Education through correspondence. It is only accredited (if that is indeed the right word) to dole out religious degrees, and certainly not qualifications in education nor in palaeontology. This is a photo of the Patriot University compound complex from the University’s own website:

The Southern Poverty Law Center has criticized Hovind for selling of books such as Des Griffin’s Fourth Reich of the Rich, and recommending The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the long-debunked Tsarist forgery. The SPLC claimed that Hovind accuses Darwinism of having produced “Communism, Socialism, Nazism, abortion, liberalism and the New Age Movement”, and also quotes Hovind as claiming that “democracy is evil and contrary to God’s law.”

In fact, Kent Hovind subscribes to a grab-bag of conspiracy theories. There seems to be nary a one he doesn’t believe in, from chemtrails to 9/11, and many of them are centered around the U.S. government. For example, Hovind believes that the cyanide-releasing compound Laetrile is a cure for cancer and argues that the US government is conspiring to suppress the cure. 

On his radio program, Truth Radio, he has said that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks, and that a “lot of folks were told not to come to work.” Naturally, he also believes the Oklahoma City bombing was carried out by the government, stating that, “Did you know the Federal Government blew up their own building to blame it on the militias and to get rid of some people that weren’t cooperating with the system?”

And what’s a good crackpot without a UFO fetish? Hovind recommends books by conspiracy theorists who believe “some UFO’s are U.S. Government experiments with electrogravitic propulsion as opposed to jet propulsion”, while others are Satanic apparitions.

Hovind is also a self-described cryptozoologist, which is just the posh name for people who believe in, and hunt for, creatures such as the Loch Ness monster, Big Foot, the Yeti, and, my personal favorite, the Mongolian Death Worm.

But wait, there’s more! Hovind believes that the Federal Reserve, the Council on Foreign Relations, the United Nations, and various other groups are actively working to create a one world government and that the 1993 World Trade Center attack was staged by the US Government in order to pass “anti-terrorism” legislation that restricts civil liberties. He says, “I love my country, but fear my government. And you should too.”

I think I should let Hovind convince you in his own inimitable way. [I am indebted to the webmaster and the impressively large amount of information collected at www.kent-hovind.com]

“One world government is coming very soon.  I think they are going to worship Lucifer.  And I think there are not very many people who realise that the Catholics, and the Muslims and the Masons are all tied together at the top.  It is just a few hundred people running all three organizations and they’re all Satan worshippers.  All of them – Luciferians – even George Bush is involved in that – worships Lucifer.” – Truth Radio 11 July 2006 @ 14:40 (Tape 1)

“My take on what happened with the moon landing was  [......] they suspect that on impact that the cameras would be damaged because back in 1969 cameras weren’t, you know, like they are today, as good.  So they had a studio set up at CBS to mimic the moon landing.  And sure enough the cameras broke and so they flipped, you know, the CBS studio on.  And what you saw of the footage of the ’69 moon landing was actually at CBS studio. Source: “Creation Evolution and Dinosaurs session #5 Q&A @ 1:55  [January 2002]

His web site, www.drdino.com, suggests that “the mark of the beast” from Revelations 13:16 is actually the UPC bar code.

“Four people have called me from Arkansas and Missouri,” writes Hovind, “to report seeing customers at the grocery store pay for purchases by scanning their hand.”

 And of course, he’s a gun nut. Whom would Jesus shoot?

“Over Kent Hovind’s protests, the judge took away his passport and guns Hovind claimed belonged to his church.

“Hovind argued that he needs his passport to continue his evangelism work. He said “thousands and thousands” are waiting to hear him preach in South Africa next month.”

FreeHovind.com, a site claiming to be in support of Kent Hovind, has this desperate, if hilarious, message from the incarcerated Hovind:

“If I am crucified, I want people to know why. I want my message to continue. I want people to say wow – Hovind was right! Lets [sic] spread these tapes around!” – Kent Hovind ~ audio recording from jail

So it seems this claim of Hovind’s turned out not to be true:

“It kind of frustrates those who hate me because the Lord kind of got a hedge built around us, you know.  And if anybody does evil to us it is because God allowed it.  Only reason.  They can not get through God’s angels.  One of God’s angels wiped out 180,000 Syrians in one night.  Just one. I’ve got several guardian angels – according to Corinthians – so bring it on skeptics.” – Truth Radio 13 June 2006 @ 6:15 (Tape 1)

However, in the spirit of Christian charity, you can lend your support to “Dr” Kent Hovind by following the instructions from the FreeHovind.com website

“Dr. Kent E. Hovind is currently at the Edgefield Federal Correctional Institution in South Carolina. Please send postcards and letters to:

Kent E. Hovind #06452-017
FPC Edgefield D-2
P.O. BOX 725
Edgefield, SC. 29824 USA

Feel free to send Dr. Hovind a letter or postcard. Please understand he is not able to answer every letter he receives, but he certainly appreciates any support and encouragement. He can also receive new books, but only directly from bookstores. And no hardcover books are allowed. No DVDs, CDs, or anything hard or sharp such as staples, etc (no tracts with staples in them). Do not send more than one tract at a time, as all gifts containing more than one tract will not be allowed. Do not put “Dr.” on his name, or it may be discarded by the guards. They do not always return postal items that are not delivered to inmates, so you may want to save a copy before mailing, so that you might try again in the event that he was recently moved for example.

http://www.bop.gov/inmate_programs/visiting.jsp

Please write with the understanding that whatever you write could be subject to monitoring by the guards. Please do not write politically-charged or tax-related comments, etc. In the event that Dr. Hovind is moved to another facility, one can always check for Dr. Hovind’s current address by using the Inmate Locator on the Bureau of Prisons website:

http://www.bop.gov/

From the CSE team,
Thank you for your continued support.”

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